Nine Shops Advance

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Staples has narrowed the review for its advertising account to nine agencies.

The agencies moving on are Interpublic Group of Cos. shops Bozell Worldwide, New York; Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis; McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston; and Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Omnicom Group's Martin/Williams, Minneapolis; Grey Global Group's Fresh Grey, a division of Grey Worldwide, New York; independent Wieden & Kennedy, New York; and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, which is partly owned by Bcom3 Group.

The Framingham, Mass.-based office supply retailer last month placed its account in review after an eight-year association with Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York, the shop that developed the tagline "Yeah, we've got that" and a number of quirky ads.

The agency declined

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to participate in the review.

Shifting focus
Staples, planning to shift focus to the business-to-business sector, faces stiff competition in the office-supply market not only from competitors Office Depot and Office Max but from big box retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores.

Billings for the account were undisclosed, but Staples' spending has dropped in recent years, down to $71.2 million in measured media in 2001 from $115 million in 2000, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., is the consultant. The retailer will meet with the semifinalists over the next few weeks, with a group of finalists selected to participate in creative and strategic work asignment.

A decision is expected by the end of June.